This book is about literacy, gender and attainment, how they have been linked and defined as a social problem, and the changing pattern of interest in this topic both within the feminist community and beyond. It acts as a response to the increasing visibility of boys’ underachievement in literacy within the education systems of countries such as the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, where this issue is increasingly treated as a particular kind of literacy problem that schools are expected to solve. Yet to date any explanations for boys’ comparative weakness in reading and writing remain poorly theorised and often lack empirical evidence to support them. The book sets out to redress this state of affairs by re-examining the social organisation of literacy in the primary school. It argues that the ground rules for what counts as literacy in school are diverse. This provides the basis upon which literacy itself becomes gender-differentiated as boys and girls react to their designation in classrooms as more or less able readers. The social construction of gender and ability interact to produce the pattern of gender differences in performance outcomes. The book explores these themes through a focus on the reading curriculum.